Sunday, May 14, 2006

Short Takes - May 14, 2006

Not much in the way of real news for this week's Short Takes. Maybe I haven't been paying attention well enough or maybe it's just that it's the weekend before the networks reveal what they're going to inflict on us next year and so rumours are rife about what is and isn't going to be on to the exclusion of much else.

David Blaine endangers health and fails to set record: No I didn't watch David Blaine's Drowned Alive stunt. Which of course is exactly what it was - a stunt not a magic trick. I think it may have been the idiocy of the title. I think it's fairly safe to say that everyone who has ever drowned was alive at the start of the process. The part that really got to me was his need to surround what was really a fairly basic trick that I learned about the first time I read the Guiness Book of Records and actually tried once, and surround it with the life endangering hype of the whole seven days in water filled plastic bubble crap (and I wonder how he did that part - presumably not well if his list of medical complications is any indication). The trouble is that no one would have tuned in to watch a guy hyperventilate oxygen for half an hour and then hold his breath. (For the record I think I hyperventilated for fifteen or twenty minutes and held my breath for five, but not under water. I don't recommend it.)

So maybe Reba is gone: No sooner did I finish raking people over the coals for the report that The CW wanted to get out of their contract for Reba than TVSquad reported that The CW wanted to get out of their contract for Reba. This one I believe and for one good reason - they cite sources. They cite a report from Broadcasting & Cable rather than devastated "anonymous sources" on the set. And neither TV Squad nor Brodacast & Cable wrapped the whole thing in some silly vendetta against Les Moonves. That's the sort of reporting that I want to see.

Rumours abound: Of course they do - upfronts are next week and the "industry insiders" whoever they may be keep getting information to their pet columnists - one of which I ain't. Depending on who you believe, Invasion is cancelled, Aquaman will never be seen, Veronica Mars is cancelled - or not depending on what columnist you choose to believe (apparently the evidence that it hasn't been cancelled comes from star Kristin Bell flying to New York this week). One thing that seems likely is that the CW wants 7th Heaven back for at least 13 episodes and is willing to pay for it. All of which begs that question "If the network is willing to take a huge loss to bring back its highest rated drama, why do they seem determined to dump Reba which is their highest rated comedy?"

Blankity blank blankblanking Motherblankers: According to HBO will not be renewing the options for the cast of Deadwood after the end of the upcoming third season. According to CNN series producer "David Milch is shifting his attention to John From Cincinnati, a one-hour project he is writing for HBO. The surfing-themed drama has been ordered as a pilot, subject to finalizing deals on the financial and talent side."

We haven't had much from "Barney" Bozell lately: But that's about to change. The self appointed moderators of decency (whether you like it or not) known as the Parent's Television Council has decided to "blast" Staples and MacDonald's for supporting evil and badness by sponsoring an episode of the TV show Medium. "The February 6, 2006, Medium episode contained graphic depictions of a man having sex with a prostitute whose hands were tied to the bed. Viewers were subjected to an explicit sexual sequence in which the man reaches orgasm and then murders the prostitute by smothering her with a pillow. In addition, he is shown killing several more prostitutes in the same way. The episode was watched by over half a million children, according to Nielsen Media Research." Which is somewhat surprising since Medium is a "third hour" show. Staples responded to the PTC with a letter that stated that the company "advertises with a variety of media outlets, but we do not necessarily share the same views of these organizations or their content." while MacDonalds was a bit more combative: "As an advertiser, our role is not to determine what broadcasters should or should not air. That decision belongs to the broadcaster and, ultimately, to the individual viewer." Here's the really interesting bit though. The PTC's Best and Worst of the Week page isn't particularly easy to understand or navigate but I don't see any mention of Medium on the page. So either there were shows that were more evil and depraved than this episode of Medium or someone at the PTC didn't think the show was so bad. (Okay, just checked; their Worst for the week of February 6 was an episode of Las Vegas which I guess didn't have sponsors with high enough profiles.)

There was something else and now I can't remember it: I hate it when that happens.

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